Grells… Some weird abomination of a floating brain, an octopus, and a giant chicken (with some teeth, no less). They cannot see, as they have no eyes, but they can sense creatures around them, and will ambush any prey with sealth and poisonous tentacles. I’m not sure how they fit into Wrath of Ashardalon, but whatever… time to get some paint on these bad boys.
Before I painted, though, I wanted some variation. Using hot water to soften the tentacles, I repositioned some of them so each grell was unique. This material likes to spring back into shape, even after reshaping, so it’s hard to do anything like this with bits that are thicker. But the tentacles seemed to work out pretty well.
I used a light pink on the brain. I know it’s fake-looking, compared to real brains. But then again, to whose brains are we referring? Perhaps the grell really does have pink brain matter. But the shading threw me for a loop. I attempted a purple wash by thinning paint with Futur floor polish, as recommended by many out there. Unfortunately, that didn’t really work well. It left an unsightly ring around each depression where pigment stuck to the edges. This is likely due to surface tension. I couldn’t figure it out, and so I painted over the brains again to cover up the ugly wash. Instead of a wash, I decided to dry-brush highlights over the high spots, making the low points just a tad darker. The contrast isn’t quite what I had hoped, but it’s sufficient, I think.
The beak was pretty straightforward. Again, no wash here, since it went badly on the brain. Just a plain yellow for the beak. The tongue I painted a medium purple, and the inside of the mouth is a dark maroon.
The tentacles were kind of a pain. It’s hard to really get inside and paint all areas, but I think I got pretty close. While I was up in there, I hit the underside of the brain with gray for a bit of shadow. (Not like anyone will look under there anyway…) I finished the tentacles by painting the poisoned barb areas at the tips with purple. I like the contrast with the lighter tan of the tentacles.
To top it off (base it off..?), I painted the base brown and added some tan sand to cover the ground area. The base was a bit ugly all by itself.
The images in the 5e D&D Monster Manual for the grell are pretty plain, being mostly a pale pinkish color. I wanted to add a little color to these creatures. Overall, I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, although I’ll have to think about how to better utilize washes in the future. Perhaps an ink would’ve been better? Any advice from other painters out there?